Lord of the Sabbath

Why can’t our Pharisaic friends and relatives see that the Law not only expresses the righteous nature of our God, but heralds the importance of resting in Him when it comes to our salvation?


What follows is one of the first messages that I sent to my family via a Facebook post on November 4, 2017, in an attempt to get them to abandon their religious devotion to a false prophetess and come to Christ. It was based around an irony that the Lord had shown me about the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their emphasis on the fourth commandment; the one that required Israel to keep the Sabbath holy and abstain from any work on that day.

One of the main things that Adventists believe makes them special to God is their strict adherence to all ten of the ten commandments, (pause to snicker here) and the thing that sets them apart from most other churches is their Sabbath observance; modern-day Pharisaism.

The truth is that Sabbath and salvation are all about resting from your works; resting in Jesus, and putting on HIS righteousness. In emphasizing works, especially a legalistic Sabbath observance, Adventists have completely missed the point, and missed out on salvation.

In scriptural accounts of the Lord’s dealings with Pharisees, I can think of no instance where he used subtle, gentle entreaty to approach them. Pharisees are serenely confident that they have a handle on salvation, that they are “rich and have need of nothing”.  In His love, the Lord openly rebuked them; even chasing their agents, the money changers out of the temple with a whip at times. The Pharisees almost certainly got a kick-back from the commerce they allowed in God’s temple; a piece of the action.

Did that apparent harshness stem from hatred, or a desperate need to divert them from the path they were on? If your child wanders toward a busy road or reaches out to touch a hot stove, do you use the same soft voice that you use to tuck them into bed? No, the urgency of the situation, the peril or harm that they face dictates that you get their attention, point out their error and direct them back to safety.

The tax gatherers and prostitutes of Jesus’ time recognized their need for Jesus and required no rebuke to shake them from their lives of sin. The Pharisees, by contrast, were so blind that they willingly crucified the Lord of glory and compounded the error by declaring ‘His blood be on us and our children’. In sorrow and frustration, the Lord cried out:

 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused!”  Luke 13:34

His rebukes to them sprang from His love for them and a Godly wisdom that recognized it to be the only tactic likely to bear fruit.

I said all of that to explain the content and tone of the following message to a large, extended family; wall to wall Adventists, content with their false prophetess:

I have some great news!
The Lord is coming very soon to rescue His people from the coming wrath, and anyone who accepts Him will be included. The burden that is on my heart concerns those who think they have a relationship with Him but are relying in part on their own performance to qualify them for The Kingdom. You probably don’t even know who you are.

The Lord showed me something that blew me away last Sabbath, that I feel compelled to share with you. Did you know there is a commandment that condemns you for trying to work your way to heaven? Further, did you know it is the Adventist’s favorite; the fourth? Let me put this in context with what the Lord said in John 5: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  The whole book is about Him and the message of salvation. He explained this to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was written in all the Scriptures about Himself.” Luke 23.

The ten commandments reveal the nature of God, and the one that concerns Sabbath keeping actually describes the gift of Salvation. Jesus is our Sabbath; our rest. In Him, we cease from our labors and rest in Him. Later passages in Exodus specify the death penalty for Sabbath breaking. Do you actually think God was making all that fuss over a day of the week?

What does this mean to believers following the sacrifice of The Lord? It means Christ, our salvation, is a free gift. You cannot accept the gift without accepting Him. Jesus came to save sinners, not the righteous. It further means that those who continue to try to work their way to heaven have rejected the Holy Spirit and the salvation that comes only through the free gift of God. To choose to work when you come to Salvation ends in death.

‘Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work’; all THY work. ‘But the seventh day is the Sabbath of The Lord your God. In it thou shalt not do any work’; ANY work. When you come to The Lord, The Sabbath, you cease from your labors. The Holy Spirit indwells you and the truly righteous acts that ensue are the expression of His nature, not your flesh. From that point, we long to become like Him and try to make choices that will avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, but we are saved, regardless of what we do. John 10:29: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.” No one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. If you can lose it, it isn’t eternal life. I know this is heresy to those who have spent their lives trying to please God.

My high-school Bible teacher drew a graph on the blackboard illustrating the Christian life and explained how, IF it trended generally upward, God would make up the difference and you would be saved. What Bible was that ever in?!!!!! That graph represented my filthy rags; certainly nothing you want God to consider when He weighs you in the balances. That teacher was trying to make us twice as fit for hell as he was himself. When God looks at me, all I want Him to see is the blood of Christ, not a single thing that I have ever done.

I believe the nation is coming to a showdown with God. The entire world is, but this nation is at the head of the line because of the amazing blessings and protection it has enjoyed. Because of its acceptance of the abomination of homosexuality through the passage of homosexual marriage laws; the wholesale human sacrifice which continues on a daily basis in the abortion mills; the inexorable obliteration of the name of God and condemnation of any expression of morality in public places; the persecution of God’s people and accusations of hatred any time a moral principle is upheld; these sins and many more have earned America a part in the judgment that is described in Revelation 18, and it is coming very soon.

Is America worse than any other nation? Some yes and some no, but at its inception George Washington went to a small church that still stands adjacent to Ground Zero, there in New York City, and dedicated the nation to God, establishing a holy pact. The nation has been greatly blessed since that day as a result, but the first sign of God’s judgment fell right at that spot on 9/11. But I digress.

Judgment is coming. Come to Jesus and avoid the wrath that is coming. Romans 10: “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Your “good” works do not enter into the equation. Pharisees hate the thief on the cross because he received salvation without working for it. They also hate the prodigal son because the Father accepted and rewarded him after he returned from his life of sin. They see themselves as the “good” brother that stayed there and did what he was told. ‘It just aint fair!’ they yell. This kind of thinking is deadly when dealing with eternity. It isn’t fair: we all deserve death, regardless of our performance. Accept the free gift of God before time runs out.

Give me a call if you’d like to know more.

I never received a single response from anyone in the family; not a single word. Doubtless, they thought I was trying to be clever; using their legalism against them. Like the Pharisees, they condemned me as an apostate

and conspired in secret to shun me. Our paths have since diverged as the Lord led us away.

I did get a response from an old friend, a former Adventist that I had worked with for years. She wanted to know what kind of “whacky stuff” I was smoking. She complained that this call to salvation and others of my posts pointing out the signs of the end-time were “cringe-worthy”. She wanted the “old Jerry” back. Well, the old Jerry had shared the good news of salvation , but never warned her that time was running out. She became the first to unfriend and block me.

Pharisees are the most difficult group to reach with the good news of salvation. The Lord proved that in the way that he confronted and rebuked them. His sorrow over their rejection of Him is something we share.

Top of page

Photo Credits

  • Adapted from #91237724/Jankovoy-adobe stock.com
  • Adapted from #142791421/Subbotina Anna-adobe stock.com
  • #198217073/kentannenbaum46-adobe stock.com
  • Don’t Mess With Israel by Greg Lauer @alittlestrength.com